691 | Once | Zhao Lihong, China

Illustration by Zhao Lihong


Once I was wandering on the road,
my lone silhouette like a dry tree in the desert.
Once I was gazing with fear in the dark,
my calls for help subdued in the lead of night,
clouds and mist shrouded stars and moon,
a chill wind scraped the stark wilderness.
Once I heard the nightingale singing in the night,
songs from clouds up in the sky,
descending like a blossoming lily pond,
its pure white petals repelled the shades of night.
Once I looked for you in the dense fog—
what greater happiness could be
than meeting you again on a spring night?

Zhao Lihong, China (1952)

Translation Xu Qin – Germain Droogenbroodt – Stanley Barkan

From: “A Boat to Heaven”, Southwordeditions